February 05, 2017

Tag Archives: Good Will Hunting

Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood’s biggest and most diverse superstar

As big a star as Ben Affleck is, I’m sure he gets the credit that he deserves. Not only is he an A-list Hollywood talent, he’s an acclaimed and award winning filmmaker. Affleck is part of superhero blockbusters, prestige fare, and everything in between. Throw in his charity work and you have a dynamic star. For a while, he was seen as a bit of a punching bag, but another Oscar and some very solid choices later, that decidedly is no longer the case. He’s rightfully taken his place as one of the industry’s biggest names. I just don’t think he’s always seen in that light, which is a shame.
Affleck is a two time Academy Award winner, taking home an Oscar early in his career for co-writing Good Will Hunting with Matt Damon, then winning one a few years ago for producing his latest directional outing Argo. Having the statues for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture certainly will go a long way towards making you a behind the scenes juggernaut. His directing is unimpeachable so far, with Argo joining the likes of the also award cited Gone Baby Gone and The Town. Later on this year, he’ll try to make it four for four when Live By Night hits theaters.
As of this year as well, he’s now also an even bigger blockbuster talent. He’d anchored big movies before, including the hybrid prestige fare that was Gone Girl, along with a number of huge flicks in years past, but this was different. He put on the cape and cowl to become the latest actor to play Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He also cameoed as the Caped Crusader in Suicide Squad, continuing to set up for his next turn in the mega blockbuster Justice League. After that, he’ll bring together his filmmaking and acting skills to write, direct, and star in his own solo Batman film. Affleck now will have a large say in one of the biggest pop culture characters in history.

Here is how I would would rank Affleck’s best performances to date:
1. Chasing Amy
2. The Town
3. Good Will Hunting
4. Gone Girl
5. Argo
6. Hollywoodland
7. Boiler Room
8. Shakespeare in Love
9. The Company Men
10. Jersey Girl
Honorable Mention: Bounce, Dazed and Confused, Dogma, Man About Town, and State of Play

Once again, here also is how I’d rank Affleck’s directorial efforts so far:
1. Argo
2. The Town
3. Gone Baby Gone
Going […]

Robin Williams: The 10 Best Performances

It’s taken me a little bit to be able to write this piece, honestly. The death of Robin Williams hit myself and most of the industry harder than a celebrity’s passing usually does. Part of it has to do with the fact that it was a suicide, but more than anything it’s just the loss of such a beacon of happiness and humor. Williams struggled with depression, but he made it his mission in life to bring joy to others. As such, I couldn’t not pay tribute to the man, but I wanted to be able to take a little bit of time and think about his work before doing this article.
Below you’ll find Williams’ ten best performances, not counting his genius stand up work, of course.
10. World’s Greatest Dad – An incredibly dark comedy, Williams does some very underrated work in a project that’s really hard to watch now. It involves themes that will hit too close to home, but one day we’ll be able to approach this one again and I hope more people will realize how good he was in it. It’s a black comedy, but Williams anchors it in emotion.
9. Moscow on the Hudson – Another under seen film (and one that has sort of been forgotten ever since The Terminal came out, consider some similarities in plot), Williams got to show range in this one. I hope folks seek this one out now, as it deserves a second look. He’s quite good here, I assure you.
8. Insomnia – The only time Williams went and played a full on villain, and boy is he chilling. He does it in such a calm way, you’re just unnerved. This is a “lesser” Christopher Nolan outing to most, but Williams is easily the best part of it. He aces his part.
7. The Fisher King – Perhaps Terry Gilliam’s crowning achievement (or at least his most underrated), Williams gets to mix his manic energy with some real pathos here. There’s his trademark comedy, for sure, but he’ll also break your heart before all is said and done. This is one of the best mixes of his talents and an absolute must watch.
6. One Hour Photo – It was such a startling sight to see Williams playing such a restrained figure like this one. A tragic villain of sorts, he’s so tightly coiled you keep waiting for him to strike. It’s […]

Heath Ledger: The Top 25 (Best Supporting Actor)

Continuing on with this weekly series I’m doing for the site, we’re in the midst of talking the top 25 Oscar winners in just about every single one of the Academy Award categories. Aside from the shorts and something a bit harder to rank like Best Sound Editing or Mixing as I mentioned previously, I’ll be hitting them all over the coming weeks and months, including of course the big eight categories.
Today I’ll be going ahead and knocking off another of those rather big ones, the ever interesting Best Supporting Actor category. As always, depending on the category in question, I may wind up discussing the individual winners I’m citing specifically or just give more of a broad overview of the winners, but I’m keeping it simple for this one and will focus on the list. Like I’ve said each week though, in all honesty, you all mostly just want to see the list anyway, so I have no problem obliging you there in that particular regard. All you have to do is just be patient over the paragraph or two…
Best Supporting Actress is an incredibly interesting Oscar category without question, due in part to some of the more interesting names that you can see sometimes pop up as winners. I’ll be honest and let you all know that I personally find this to be the weakest of the acting categories, but there are some outstanding winners to be found here, no doubt about that. I know my number one choice isn’t necessarily going to be a popular one, but I stand by it, as you’ll see below!
This week, for this particular acting category, what I’m going to do is give you the list right now, along with a few words about some of the top choices at the end. The big eight categories cater to this style nicely I think, so that’s likely how I’ll continue to handle these going forward. Here we go now though…
My Top 25 Best Supporting Actor winners are:
25. Louis Gossett Jr. – An Officer and a Gentleman
24. Walter Huston – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
23. Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
22. Joel Grey – Cabaret
21. Morgan Freeman – Million Dollar Baby
20. Christopher Plummer – Beginners
19. Jack Nicholson – Terms of Endearment
18. Gene Hackman – Unforgiven
17. Jack Lemmon – Mister Roberts
16. Chris Cooper – Adaptation
15. Martin Landau – Ed Wood
14. George Kennedy – Cool Hand […]

Oscars®: The Top 25 (Best Original Screenplay)

Continuing a new weekly series I’m doing…we’re talking the top 25 Oscar winners in just about every single one of the Academy Award categories. Aside from the shorts and something like Best Sound Mixing like I mentioned previously, I’ll be hitting them all over the coming weeks and months, including of course the big eight categories.
Today I’ll even knock off the first of those big ones, the ever interesting Best Original Screenplay category. Depending on the category in question, I may wind up discussing the individual winners I’m citing specifically or just giving more of a broad overview of the winners, but for now, I’ll still keeping it simple early on. Like I said last week though, in all honesty, you all mostly just want to see the list anyway, so I have no problem obliging you there in that particular regard. All you have to do is just be patient over the next few paragraphs…
Best Original Screenplay is personally one of my favorite Oscar categories, due to the absolute creativity that you can see on display here. Voters sometimes even go out of their comfort zone in honoring scripts written for projects that they’d never touch in the Best Picture category (though that’s begun to change a bit). I think you’ll be able to see a pattern emerging among my winners, as some of their more out there choices have been my favorites. Maybe that says more about me than it does about members of the Academy, but hey, we should all be thankful that some of these screenplays were able to win those Oscars, as they’ve inspired countless other writers in the years since.
This week, for this screenplay category, what I’m going to do is give you the list right now, with a few words about each of the top 25 victors that I’ve chosen. The big eight categories cater to this style nicely, so that’s likely how it’ll go for all of those. Here we go:
25. American Beauty (Alan Ball) – The film hasn’t aged well, but the script itself remains scathingly funny to me. A satire of middle class life and mid life crises, Alan Ball hit on something here, at least at the time. He hasn’t been able to get back to that level since then with his work, but man did he deserve the Oscar for this one, no question about that.
24. Pillow […]

Ben Affleck talks “Argo,” Kevin Smith fans, and more Lehane stories – OSCARS

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Some of us are still getting used to talking about Ben Affleck, The Director.
Most of us grew up watching Ben Affleck, The Marquee Star. Ever since the fresh-faced Bostonian shocked the world (or, at the very least, the film industry) by winning an Oscar for his first screenplay of “Good Will Hunting,” Affleck has been an integral part of the Hollywood scene. Mostly, he was carrying popcorn blockbusters such as Daredevil or Armageddon. He earned indie cred collaborating with Kevin Smith on Chasing Amy, then fell victim to a string of poor acting choices that resulted in “Gigli,” “Paycheck” and “Surviving Christmas.”
In 2007, Affleck reinvented himself. He cast a fantastic ensemble for his adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s moody detective thriller “Gone Baby Gone.” Critics and audiences raved. Affleck followed that with “The Town,” an equally tough-talking Boston gang drama. It was as good, if not better, then his debut film.
The streak continues as Affleck directs “Argo,” a true-life hostage thriller centered on an unusual plan to abstract U.S. embassy workers from a hostile situation in Iran. Once again, Affleck assembles a top-notch ensemble that includes himself, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan and the great Bryan Cranston (who we spoke with here).
If you need any more indication as to the power of Affleck’s cast, “Argo” is receiving this year’s “Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award” at the Hollywood Film Awards.
Affleck recently sat down with us to discuss his short but impressive directing career, the elements that drew him to “Argo,” and the possibility of him returning to Lehane’s franchise.
I was in the balcony of the Roy Thompson Hall for the film’s premiere. You were introduced, and a guy sitting near me shouts, “Affleck, you da bomb in Phantoms, yo!” And I thought, “Even here.”
[Laughs] Kevin Smith fans are everywhere.
But at least they are following you, right?
Yes, that’s right! You know, that line, which I actually I gave it to Jason Mewes and he then said … I always know the guy in the room who is the Kevin Smith fan.
Tell me something you learned on their previous films that really came in handy on “Argo,” where you thought, “Thank goodness I’ve seen that already.”
I think, on some level, the basic thing I learned on the previous two films is just that everything is going to be OK. We’re going to […]

Ben Affleck reveals Jennifer Garner does most of the parenting

HollywoodNews.com: It sounds like Ben Affleck is very lucky to have Jennifer Garner as his wife as he is revealing that she definitely does the majority of the parenting while he is often distracted by work.
Affleck spoke with ‘Details’ about how hard it has been for him to balance work and family, states RadarOnline. “I am not very present in the rest of my life. My wife’s very patient. She does everything,” Affleck commented.
“If I have time, I try to spend time with the kids, even if just to be a physical presence, the bath, whatever. But my mind’s always going, ‘How are we going to light that shot tomorrow?’” Affleck added about his dedication to work.
However, he did add that he chooses his projects more carefully now because it has to be worth giving up time with his family.
What do you think about him as a dad?
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Ben Affleck’s thrilling “Argo” a major step for maturing filmmaker – TORONTO

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: I can’t remember a more complete career renaissance than the one Ben Affleck’s currently enjoying.
Not that long ago, the handsome Boston actor – a one-time Oscar winner for co-screenwriting “Good Will Hunting” – was in Hollywood “prison,” condemned for poor choices ranging from “Gigli” to “Jersey Girl” and the aptly titled “Paycheck.” But Affleck took a temporary vacation, reset his career from behind the lens, and established himself as a formidable director with the one-two punch of “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town.”
“Argo,” his latest, takes this storytelling career to the next level.
Affleck has crafted an airtight heist movie, only the loot being boosted isn’t cash, diamonds or jewels. It’s six human lives.
“Argo” also sees the director responding to the criticism that he’s only capable of making riveting “Southie” thrillers. With “Argo,” Affleck goes global, yet never sacrifices his tensions by expanding his canvas. The film is based on a previously classified story of a daring hostage extraction during the extended Iran hostage situation of 1979. Tony Mendez (Affleck) has a plan that requires Hollywood and D.C. to collaborate on the creation of a bogus sci-fi movie, of which the detained hostages will pretend to be part of the crew.
Thanks to a subtle, internal time clock, Affleck must keep his pieces constantly moving through “Argo,” and it’s in this instance that we realize what a confident director he has become. There’s barely an ounce of fat on this rapidly-dancing thriller, which is alternately funny, risky and consistently terrifying. Once again, Affleck proves he has a fantastic eye or casting. Supporting roles scattered throughout “Argo” are occupied by pros, from Alan Arkin and John Goodman as the movie-business moguls who help stitch the fictional “Argo” together, to Bryan Cranston as Affleck’s man in the C.I.A., trying to pull enough strings to get these hostages to safety.
After building awards buzz at Telluride, Warner Bros. programmed “Argo” into TIFF, where it played like gangbusters to a packed Roy Thomson Hall for a well-received Gala screening. The film opens in October, and should enjoy a favorable run through the Oscar marathon as the industry embraces the entertainment angle to this so-strange-it’s-true story that is masterfully crafted by one of our most talented actor-directors.
Read more of our exclusive Toronto coverage:
Rian Johnson’s “Looper” reviewed
“Amour” amazes, “Rust & Bone” ultimately delivers
TIFF: The Day Before the Madness
Follow Hollywood News […]

Ben Affleck on Casey Affleck: ‘We all root for one another’

HollywoodNews.com: Ben Affleck and his burgeoning star brother Casey Affleck aren’t in competition with one another.
Speaking to the Daily Record, Ben Affleck says, “I don’t even know what we would compete over. I’ve seen a bunch of versions of his movies and he’s seen mine and we help each other. I mean, if you are working against your brother, you are really in trouble.
“My brother did give me grey hair directing him in ‘Gone Baby Gone,’ which does make me feel a little bit more old. That makes me want to shave his head.
“I can honestly tell you that with me, Matt (Damon) and Casey, we are all rooting for one another. We are all looking for one another to succeed. It’s hard enough as it is.”
Casey recently made his directorial debut with the mockumentary “I’m Still Here” about Joaquin Phoenix’s hijinks while brother Ben churned out his second directorial feature “The Town” which took the top spot at the box office with close to $24 million.
The Boston-raised brothers starred in four films together: “200 Cigarettes,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Gone Baby Gone” and “Chasing Amy.”
Photo Credit: WB
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This Week In Movies – ‘The Town,’ ‘Jack Goes Boating,’ ‘Easy A,’ ‘Devil’

By Pete Hammond
HollywoodNews.com: Ben Affleck has had a career of ups and downs but to his credit he hasn’t let critical brickbats or tabloid fodder derail him from living up to the promising talent he showed as an actor and writer in 1997’s Good Will Hunting which won Ben and buddy, Matt Damon a Best Original Screenplay Oscar. Since then Ben has mixed success in big Hollywood projects like Armageddon (1998) , Pearl Harbor ( 2001) and The Sum Of All Fears (2002) with genuinely interesting acting turns in meatier material like the highly underrated Changing Lanes (2002) and Hollywoodland (2006). Unfortunately there was also his “Bennifer” phase when he and then -fiancée Jennifer Lopez were the talk of the tabs and their joint co-starring venture, Gigli (2003) crashed and burned. By that point most pundits had written off the early promise of Good Will Hunting and dismissed him until his feature directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone (2007) showed that initial talent was just hitting it’s stride. This weekend’s critical acclaim and number one box office ranking for his latest writing/directing/acting achievement, The Town has quieted the doubters and clearly set Ben off on a new career path that buddy Matt Damon says will turn him into “the new Clint Eastwood”, meaning a triple threat talent that is one to watch. The common denominator between Good Will, Gone Baby Gone and The Town is the general location, Ben’s hometown of Boston. When I talked to him a couple of weeks ago he mentioned it was a concern that he get pidgeonholed as the “Boston” guy but that this material was just too tempting to pass up. With its estimated $23.8 million haul, The Town proved that decision to be the right one, beating pre-release predictions, drawing a solid B+ Cinemascore rating and an absolutely stellar 94% fresh score on the Rotten Tomatoes critics meter. What’s particularly heartening about all of this is that The Town falls into that endangered species known as ADULT DRAMA. It’s a time-honored genre that the big studios were thought to be abandoning. Warner Bros. is to be congratulated for a smart marketing and distribution strategy and Ben Affleck is back on top of the movie world with the first significant release of the more serious Fall season.

Speaking of actors-turned-directors, another Oscar winner Philip […]

Matt Damon thinks Ben Affleck is the next Clint Eastwood

HollywoodNews.com: Sure, best buds and Oscar winning scribes Ben Affleck and Matt Damon may have been pitted against one another as box office stars at one point, but the latter thespian thinks his former “Good Will Hunting” buddy is going to explode as a director.
So much so, that Damon went so far to praise Affleck’s “The Town” as a work of art that director Clint Eastwood typically pulls off.
Damon recently finished making “The Hereafter” with Eastwood.
“This one (‘The Town’) is really, I think, the one where people are just going to remember who he is and let all of the other stuff go,” Damon said. “He’s just a monumentally talented guy. In a lot of ways, I always think of Clint, because Clint was doing orangutan movies, and people weren’t taking him as seriously.
“And look at the second half of his [Eastwood’s] career. He’s an icon. And I really feel like that’s the kind of career Ben’s going to have.”
Responding to Damon’s comments, Affleck replied at the Toronto International Film Festival: “Who needs a publicist when you’ve got a friend like Matt? I’ve got to pay this guy.”
“The Town” bows Friday.
Digital Spy scored the news.
Photo Credit: Universal
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